By Martin Awuku
Two separate attacks on cattle-herders have left three herdsmen and several cattle dead this week at Samso near Drobonso in the Sekyere Afram Plains district.
The deaths are the result of clashes between the herdsmen and farmers in the Ashanti Region town.
Police have also launched a search for a fourth herdsman and hundreds of cattle that have gone missing following the attack.
The clashes follow the murder of the security man of a local plantation firm earlier this month. There are fears the attack on the herdsmen could be retaliation by the farmers who suspect the security man was killed by the nomadic herders.
Meanwhile, some two herdsmen who had earlier been declared missing have been found, with the whereabouts of a third herdsman still unknown.
Police say it is too early to blame the attacks on revenge.
The Effiduase Divisional Commander, ACP Philip Asante, who confirmed the death of three men says two of the deaths were recorded on Thursday morning after unidentified gunmen attacked the herdsmen and their cattle at a camp in the bushes of Samso, killing two on the spot.
“We have another information that another Fulani man [herdsman] has also been killed so we went to the ground and saw that the Fulani guy was killed — shot in the chest.
“We conducted a post-mortem and buried them because their bodies were almost decomposing. Yesterday [Friday] we had another information that the Fulani man who was killed was moving with his cow so people have started picking the cows to Agogo and be selling them. So we dispatched men there to see the situation at hand and they reported that it wasn’t a cow as it was reported but rather it was two men that have been shot dead. They were sent to the Agogo Hospital morgue,” ACP Asante said.
Police have called for support from the general public as it launch a search for the fourth herdsman who has gone missing.
ACP Asante says it will take the support of residents to volunteer information to find him.
Samso, Mossi Panin, Mpatanjo, and other areas in the district have all had their share of the destruction of farms by cattle belonging to the herdsmen. The news team visited several hectares of beans and maize farms destroyed by cattle.
But the Unit Committee Chairman for Samso, Abdul Rahmani Ibrahim, suspects the attackers who wielded guns are not members of the Samso community.
According to him, Thursday’s sporadic gunshots in the bushes follow another one recorded a week earlier.
Meanwhile, the Fulani community in the region has described the attacks as unfortunate. Osman Bin Ahmed is Chief of the Fulani community in the Ashanti Region. He is unhappy at the loss of lives despite several sensitisation efforts to ensure local farmers cohabit with the herdsmen.
“We still have a lot of work to do. You remember last year we did everything possible to calm the situation thinking that we are going to have an accident-free year. Since last month the information we are getting is not the best. It means the dangers involved is getting too much,” he admits.
Chief Ahmed wants lands to be released for the construction of satellite ranches to bring the situation under the control.
“We want a situation where land would be released to them so we set up satellite ranches for them to see. It is high time people realised that when we say Planting for Food and Jobs, we should also look at the Rearing for Food and Jobs with a modern system in making this thing [cattle rearing] a very viable business,” he said.
Source: Ghana I Nhyira FM I